Inexperienced supplies can energy sensible units at residence, workplace, Vitality Information, ET EnergyWorld

Green materials can power smart devices at home, office, Energy News, ET EnergyWorld

London: A team of researchers has found that new green materials currently being developed for next-generation solar panels can be useful for capturing light indoors and paving the way for powering smart devices with ambient light in the home or office.

In smart devices like smartphones, smart speakers, and wearable health and wellness sensors, these can run out quickly and contain toxic and rare chemicals that are harmful to the environment.

One way to power them is to convert indoor light from ordinary light bulbs into energy, much like how solar panels extract energy from sunlight, known as solar photovoltaics.

However, due to the different properties of the light sources, the materials used for solar panels are not suitable for harvesting indoor light.

Now researchers from Imperial College London, Soochow University in China and the University of Cambridge have outlined a new path in an article published in Advanced Energy Materials.

“By efficiently absorbing the light from lamps, which are commonly found in homes and buildings, the materials we studied can convert light into electricity, the efficiency of which is already in the range of commercial technologies,” said the co-author of the study, Dr. Robert Hoye, from Imperial’s Department of Materials.

“We have also already identified several potential improvements that would allow these materials to outperform current indoor photovoltaic technologies in the near future.”

The team investigated “perovskite-inspired materials,” designed to circumvent problems with materials called perovskites, designed for next-generation solar cells.

Although perovskites are cheaper to manufacture than traditional silicon-based solar modules and offer similar efficiency, perovskites contain toxic lead substances.

This led to the development of perovskite-inspired materials based instead on safer elements like bismuth and antimony.

The team found that the materials are much more effective at absorbing indoor light and have promising efficiencies for commercial applications.

It was crucial that the researchers showed that the performance of these materials in indoor lighting is already sufficient to operate electronic circuits.

Professor Vincenzo Pecunia from Soochow University said: “Our discovery opens a whole new direction in the search for environmentally friendly, easy-to-manufacture materials to run our smart devices in a sustainable way.”

Lead-free, perovskite-inspired materials could soon enable self-powered devices for wearables, health monitoring, smart homes and smart cities, the authors wrote.



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